Preparing for Graduation

Degrees are conferred at the close of the fall, spring, and summer terms.  Commencement ceremonies are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters only.  Summer graduation candidates participate in the fall ceremony.

Application for Graduation

Application for Graduation forms should be completed online in Student Self Service > Graduation Overview.

The name you list on the application will be used for printing in the commencement program, announced on stage, and printed on your diploma. This must be a name on the official school record at the time of graduation. This is also the name to be used on the Alumni Wall in Centennial Plaza. Please be aware of the space limitation on this name. It may be different from the name printed in the program and on the diploma but must also be in the official school record.

It is to the student’s benefit to file the Application for Graduation at least one semester prior to the semester the student plans to graduate.  The student should inform the Graduation Coordinator if his/her graduation date changes at least one month before graduation.

The deadlines for filing an Application for Graduation in the Registrar’s Office are as follows:

  • March 1 for August or December Graduation
  • October 1 for May Graduation

Late Fees

Students filing an Application for Graduation after these dates will be charged a late fee.

May Graduation

  • October 2 through April 15 – $25.00
  • After April 15 (no guarantee of name being in the program) – $100.00

Summer Graduation

  • March 2 through July 15 – $25.00
  • After July 15 – $100.00

December Graduation

  • March 2 through November 15 – $25.00
  • After November 15 (no guarantee of name being in the program) – $100.00

Chapel Requirements

Chapel-Assembly Credit

The purpose of HSU chapel is to enlighten by faith the Hardin-Simmons community through worship, dialogue, and community service. HSU students are required to accumulate 80 chapel credits (40 for nursing students) in order to graduate.  Students may earn chapel credits by attending chapel, alternative chapel events, and by performing approved community service.

The deadline for chapel credits to be completed and reported to the Registrar’s Office is April 15 for Spring, July 15 for Summer, and November 15 for Fall graduation.

Failure to meet the deadline will result in deferring graduation.  If chapel credits are completed after the deadline (including verification by Chapel Office), but before commencement, the student may pay a $100 late fee to be reactivated for graduation in the current semester upon approval by the graduation coordinator.


May 2024 Graduation Schedule

Commencement Ceremonies will be held on Friday, May 10, 2024, at the Abilene Convention Center, 1098 N. 6th Street, Abilene, TX  79601.

Live streaming of Hardin-Simmons University’s Commencement ceremonies will be available online at

Ring Ceremonies

Official Ring Ceremonies for May 2024 graduates will take place Friday, April 12, 2024.

Candidates for Graduation

Students need to arrive at the Abilene Convention Center Upstairs Conference Room at least 1 hour prior to start of ceremony for line up and instructions. Come dressed for the ceremony (gown, cap, tassel, and hood for master and doctoral students).

Announcements & Academic Regalia

All degree candidates must wear the appropriate academic regalia to participate in commencement, which includes the traditional cap, gown, and tassel. Please order your Official Hardin-Simmons University Academic Regalia and  Graduation Announcements  from Jostens at

The cap and gown are formal attire and should be worn as such.  You may not alter or adorn your regalia in any way, this includes Nursing pins, corsages, decorated caps, etc.  Dark slacks and black shoes for men and black shoes for women are appropriate attire.  The cap should be worn straight on the head, tassel to the right-front.  Men should follow the stage party in removing their cap during the ceremony.

Graduates will not be allowed to carry any personal items (purses, computers, video cameras, notebooks, etc.) in the processional.  Please leave these items with a family member or guest.

The tassel and hood colors are significant. Hoods are trimmed or edged in a border of velvet that represents the field of study in which the degree is awarded, except for Ph.D. hoods which are trimmed in dark blue. The college/schools and colors used at Hardin-Simmons University are as follows:

Cynthia Ann Parker College of Liberal Arts

  • Liberal Arts: White
  • Music: Pink
  • Fine Arts: Dark Brown
  • Theology: Scarlet

Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics: Yellow

Kelley College of Business and Professional Studies

  • Business: Light Brown
  • Educational Studies: Light Blue

Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing: Apricot

College of Health Professions: Sage Green

  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies: Kelly Green
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy: Teal

Honor Cords

Students who meet University criteria and have been designated as graduating with honors will be issued gold honor cords from the Registrar’s Office to be worn at commencement. Students in the University Honors Program may wear their Honors Program medallion, but no other honor cords may be worn.

Graduation Honors (For Baccalaureate Degrees)

A student who has completed 60 credits of HSU residence credit and has earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.55 is awarded cum laude honors.

A student who has completed 60 credits of HSU residence credit and has earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 is awarded magna cum laude honors.

A student who has completed 60 credits of HSU residence credit and has earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 is awarded summa cum laude honors.

NOTE: GPA from previous semester is the basis for honors read at Commencement. Honors for transcript and diploma are based on actual GPA after requirements are completed.


HSU has selected Grad Images for our photography services. We are confident that they will provide our graduates and families with the best graduation photography services in the industry. Graduates should receive information to their HSU email address within just a couple of days following their commencement ceremony. You may set-up your account with Grad Images prior to the commencement ceremony and share your images with others so that they can view and order images. For more information,

After Commencement

HSU Post Office

If you currently have an HSU Post Office Box, please contact the Post Office, 325-670-1321, to cancel your box and provide them with your forwarding address.

Mailing Diploma

Once all grades are submitted and degrees are posted, diplomas will be mailed to the address you provided when you filed your Application for Graduation.  Students who complete their degree requirements should receive their diploma by mail approximately three weeks after the last day of class in the semester in which they graduate. All holds must be cleared or we will be unable to mail your diploma.  These diplomas will be held in the Registrar’s Office until all holds have been cleared.

All diplomas will be mailed to the diploma mailing address provided on the application for graduation.  If your address has changed since you applied for graduation, please update your address in Self Service Graduation Overview. Changing your address in another office will not change your diploma address.

Financial Obligations to the University

Student Accounts

Students are required to settle all accounts in a manner satisfactory to the University Controller before a diploma or transcript will be awarded or mailed.

Loan Exit Counseling

Loan Exit Counseling is required for all the direct student, direct PLUS, and private loans. Students who received federal loans are not eligible for a diploma or for official transcripts from HSU until all applicable federal exit counseling tutorials have been successfully completed, documented and made a part of your permanent HSU Financial Aid file. To proceed to the exit counseling session(s) you need to complete go to:

Financial Aid

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation from Hardin-Simmons University! During your time at HSU, you may have received Federal Direct Student Loans or loans from private lenders. The information provided below is intended to provide you with information necessary to begin the loan repayment process.

Suggested Steps

  • View Lender/Loan Servicer information on National Student Loan Data System website (NSLDS) at to verify current loan information
  • Login with your FSA ID (username and password)
  • Click on each loan to view your loan servicer contact information
  • Set up payment plan with that Loan Servicer
  • Verify that Loan Servicers have current and up to date contact information

Optional Steps

  • Check out for all sorts of useful information about your loans. Contact any private lenders that you used to find out more about beginning repayment
  • Loan Consolidation
  • Notify Loan Servicer of plans to attend Grad School
  • Loan Forgiveness Program (Teachers and Public Service Loan)

Commencement Guest Information


Abilene Convention Center: Arrival 30 minutes before the ceremony is recommended for your family and friends attending the ceremony.


Parking for handicapped guests will be available in the designated areas on both sides of the stadium. All other guests should plan to park in available parking around the stadium and adjacent parking lots.


Seating is available for your guests on a first-come basis. We ask that guests do not hold seats. Wheelchair access is available.

Commencement Etiquette

HSU’s commencement ceremony is a very formal event. Family members and friends of each graduate will be asked to stand as their graduate crosses the stage. To maintain decorum fitting of the ceremony, the following items are prohibited: Alterations/enhancements of regalia (including cap), air horns, balloons, signs, food, drinks, tobacco products (HSU is a tobacco free campus).

Commencement is a happy occasion; however, it is not a pep rally. We ask guests to act in a dignified manner.

Live Stream of Commencement

Live streaming of Hardin-Simmons University’s Commencement Ceremonies is available online at

Alumni Services

The HSU Alumni Association was established in 1896 to promote the continued well-being of the University.  Over 20,000 graduates and former students comprise the Alumni Association of Hardin-Simmons University.  Led by a 21-member Board of Directors, the Association exists to promote and maintain lifelong friendships among its members and mutually beneficial relationships with the University.

Upon graduation, alumni immediately become members of the Association.  Former students who don’t hold an HSU degree will be granted membership upon request.  Membership is free and the privileges are many.  Membership is for life, and the Office of Alumni Relations is here for you.  Stay Connected at

The Alumni Wall located in Centennial Plaza bears bronze plaques with the names of all graduates of Hardin-Simmons University listed by year of graduation. A temporary plaque is mounted at the time of commencement. A final bronze plaque is ordered after the December commencement ceremony.

Official HSU Ring

Don’t forget about your Official Hardin-Simmons Ring! In recognition of you earning your HSU diploma, every graduating student can receive the Official Hardin-Simmons University Ring the semester of her/his scheduled graduation. The best part of this program is that you will not have to pay any more for your ring than you have already paid for your college expenses!

Our Official Ring is a distinctive emblem representing tradition, honor, pride and academic success. The

ring symbolizes many of the things we all hold dear at HSU, including our Christian foundation and

representations of our beautiful campus. This custom-designed ring encompasses who we are. It tells a story of our past and our present. It represents the graduate’s dedication, perseverance, and accomplishment. The ring is a visible reminder of life-long friendships. Before a student receives his or her HSU degree, tradition dictates that the ring is worn with the HSU emblem facing the wearer. Alumni wear the ring facing outward, showing the world they have graduated from Hardin-Simmons University.

But your ring opportunity is about to end! Please contact Beth Pope from Josten’s at the following email to arrange a ring order: Call the HSU Alumni office at 325-670-1317 with questions. We cannot order your ring after you graduate. This is a fixed deadline, so please don’t miss it!”

Graduate Studies

For more information about Graduate Studies at HSU contact:

Graduation Contact Information